|Ocala, FL -
October 28, 2012|
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 at 8:21 p.m.
If it ain't broke ...
I do not have a medical background, so — like most people — I have little appreciation of the detailed health care arguments for and against the small tax increase for Munroe Regional Medical Center on the forthcoming ballot.
What I do know is, an extra $5.50 per month from us will keep the facility locally owned and governed. What I also know is, it has been voted among the top 50 hospitals in the United States year after year, which is an amazing endorsement for such a relatively small community as ours.
Why on earth would we want to risk changing the objectives from caring for people to caring for profit?
If it isn't broke, and it clearly isn't, then it doesn't need fixing.
Michael J. Halpin
I am a cardiologist at Munroe Regional Medical Center. Although I do not usually mix politics with medicine, I oppose the leasing of Munroe to a for-profit company and support the referendum to use local tax dollars to keep Munroe independent and under local control.
The process of leasing the hospital has become "political," because a new Florida state law requires that half of the proceeds from a sale of Munroe go to the Marion County Commission to be used for "health care."
At the present time, Munroe has no other mission than to provide high-quality and compassionate care to the residents of Marion County. If Munroe becomes for-profit, it will become part of a larger corporation whose primary goal is to maximize profits for shareholders outside Marion County. There will be talk about quality, but the economic "invisible hand" will inevitably change the Munroe culture.
At the present time, we have a wonderful nursing and technical staff. If salaries are cut or workloads are increased to improve the bottom line for a for-profit company, the staff may find that patient safety is compromised. I have been asked by nurses, "Why would we work at one for-profit hospital when we can do better at another for-profit hospital?"
At the current time, we have 1,500 volunteers at Munroe who donate their time to a hospital that is identified solely with Marion County. But fewer will be willing to volunteer for an institution run by outsiders, and many fewer individuals will donate to the Munroe Foundation.
There are some things in life too precious to sell. Marion County is better off with a Munroe that is for-patient, not for-profit.
John A. Bittl